Saturday, March 19, 2011

Candidate # 13

(April 2007)

“I’ll tell you one place we’ll be watching. If this documentary thing you’re making ever gets to the theatres, he won’t be able to help himself. He’ll see this movie as many times as he can. We’ll keep an eye on as many screenings as we can because he’ll be there.”
-- Leonard Schway, FBI Field Agent

Though this was the film that brought the Dowdle brothers (John Erick and Drew) to the attention of Hollywood, to date, it’s languished in releasing limbo (more on that later). Thus, it’s actually the latest film of theirs I’ve seen, getting to lay eyes on Quarantine and Devil first, two gigs they got on the strength of the faux doc, The Poughkeepsie Tapes.
Like former ¡Qué Horror! title, Lake Mungo, The Poughkeepsie Tapes plays like a documentary you might catch on cable, this time, about a serial killer’s depradations, culled from 2400 hours of video tape-- the eponymous Tapes-- he left behind for the authorities to discover.
This is a convincing piece that plays the faux doc card all the way through the end credits, not even naming the actors who appear in it (one or two who may look familiar to film geeks out there). The disturbing nature of the low-fi video clips are also effectively disquieting, without needing to resort to loads of on-screen violence; like Lake Mungo, The Poughkeepsie Tapes gets a lot of mileage from minimalism.
It’s clear to see why Hollywood has knocked on the Dowdles’ door.

I should mention that The Poughkeepsie Tapes also represents a double threat for this year’s ¡Qué Horror! rundown.
If I’m required to make some cuts based on spreading the love around (as I’ve done in the past), then this title could potentially bump 2 of the previous candidates off the final list.
If I need to have only one slot go to a Dowdle brothers film, I know which one I’ll choose; if I need to have only one slot go to a faux doc, at this point I know which one I’ll choose…
Which should just go to prove how strong a title The Poughkeepsie Tapes is…

Parting shot: The Poughkeepsie Tapes had its festival debut at Tribeca in 2007, but hasn’t yet seen the light of releasing day because of the recent bankruptcy troubles of MGM, which has also kept Drew Goddard’s The Cabin in the Woods in limbo, and delayed the productions of The Hobbit films (to the point where Guillermo del Toro had to back out of the director’s chair) and the next James Bond movie…

(The Poughkeepsie Tapes OS’ courtesy of & [Tribeca OS].)

No comments: